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Performance: Laura Anderson Barbata: La Extraordinaria Historia de Julia Pastrana
10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Alexander Library, Scholarly Communication Center
Join us on Wednesday, November 2, 10:30 a.m. to noon for La Extraordinaria Historia de Julia Pastrana, a performance work in progress by Laura Anderson Barbata, in the Scholarly Communication Center at Alexander Library.
Julia Pastrana (1834-1860) was an Indigenous woman born in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. She died at the age of 26, and was a gifted singer who performed in English, Spanish and French. Julia had a mezzo-soprano voice, played the guitar and was a graceful dancer. She was known to love people and to give generously to charity. She performed for audiences all over Europe and the United States. Pastrana suffered from one of the most extreme cases of congenital generalized hypertrichosis lanuguinosa on record and from severe gingival hyperplasia. Due to her condition, her face and body were covered with thick hair and her jaw was disproportionately large. After her death, her body was embalmed and was exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the United States for over 100 years and later kept at the Schreiner Collection in the University of Oslo, Norway.
“In response to Julia Pastrana, I initiated research, correspondence with University Scholars and The National Committee for Ethical Evaluation of Research on Human Remains in Oslo, Norway to present the case of Julia Pastrana before the committee for re-evaluation, with the objective of having her body be returned to Mexico for burial. After nearly 10 years of efforts, in February 2013, at the University of Olso, Norway, custody of Julia Pastrana was transferred to Mexican officials; I represented Mexico. Julia Pastrana´s burial took place on the 12th of February in Sinaloa de Leyva, Mexico.” –Laura Anderson Barbata
This event is held in conjunction with Laura Anderson Barbata: Collaborations Beyond Borders, an exhibit on display in the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series Galleries at Douglass Library from September 6 to December 16. The exhibition contains selected highlights of textile, sculptural, two-dimensional, and video works from the traveling exhibition Transcommunality.